by Becki |
August 14, 2011 · 4:56 pm
First things first: I AM NOW OFFICIALLY A CICERONE CERTIFIED BEER SERVER!
I took the test yesterday morning and passed with flying colors! WOOHOO!!!! In order to celebrate, I figured it was time to get something I’ve been drooling over for a long time.
I GOT A DigiSLR!!! A Nikon D3100 to be precise. After lots of research, I was deciding between the D3100 and the D5100. Since I won’t be focusing on video, I figured this one would be perfect. I’m in love!
After snapping dozens of photos around the house, I decided to take Nikita aka Nikki aka my new beloved camera, for a test drive.
Allie and I went to Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewing Company in Calabasas.
The interior is bright, cheery and earthy. I love the rustic wood and gorgeous streaks of ruby paint racing across the walls.
I love the floor to ceiling windows! If you need natural light to test out your beautiful new camera, this is the perfect place for it!
They immediately brought out piping hot fresh bread with a funky purple dipping sauce. I forwent the sauce and just shoveled hunk after hunk of scorching sourdough into my mouth. Drool.
They brew their own beer on site. Awesome!
And the beer! From the top left: Golden Eagle – their blonde ale, Howlin’ Hef – self explanatory, Wolf Dog – A hoppy amber, Wild Angels – a sweet tripel, Midnite Howl – a mix of IPA and stout, and Oatmeal Stout – their guest brew on tap from Anderson Valley. Wolf Dog was my favorite – a nice, dry, beautifully hopped amber that finishes with a healthy bite of citrus hops.
SO good to have more options in local brews!
Allie and I split the Chicken and Brie sandwich – grilled chicken breast, gooey brie cheese, guacamole, sundried tomatoes and chipotle mayo on ciabatta bread. We subbed the sweet potato fries for the regular chipotle. DROOL AGAIN! Any place that has sweet potato fries is a win on my list.
Dessert was – COMPLIMENTARY! The waitress brought out this amazing sculpture of maple ice cream studded with vanilla beans, sandwiched between sweet waffles, drizzled with a maple cream and fresh berries. They served maple syrup on the side, but it was sweet enough without. This definitely cemented my adoration for Wolf Creek.
And to finish, I had to share (with Allie’s permission of course) – Allie (not a fan of bitter beers) tries her first sip of a black IPA.
I love my cousin. And my new camera that was able to capture, in succession, this amazing piece of history.
Filed under brewery
Tagged as brewery, Calabasas, Certified Beer Server, Cicerone, Cousin Allie, DigiSLR, free dessert, Golden Eagle, Howlin' Hef, Midnite Howl, Nikita, Nikki, Nikon D3100, sweet potato fries, Wild Angels, Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewing Company, Wolf Dog
by Becki |
August 11, 2011 · 8:34 pm
I have my Cicerone test to become a Certified Beer Server on Saturday, so my day was spent like this:
Healthy monsta to start! We had a peach that was about to pass its prime, so I threw it in the Vitamix. Nothing like getting two cups of spinach in before 9am!
Then I got down to business.
My plan was to start studying at 10am, and not stop until all fifty-six of these styles’ ABVs, IBUs and SRMs were memorized!
But then I started posting pictures of what I was preparing to study for on my Bites ‘n Brews Facebook page and forgot to actually BEGIN the studying part… (I was even wearing my Odell IPA sweatshirt to mentally prepare!)
Eventually, I DID get down to business! I spent a good three hours learning about the off-flavors you can encounter in beer, how adding oats to the brew creates an oily or silky texture to the mouthfeel, that lowering the mash temp will create a thinner, crisp finish, that umami surfaces in beer with a taste of soy sauce, that having DMS (Dimethyl Sulfide) present in the beer creates a canned corn taste…
Yeah. And that’s just a small part of the perception of flavor section.
Luckily for my sanity, I had plans to meet up with Janelle and her hubby, Andrew at Wades Wines for a beer flight night!
There wasn’t a style setup this night, unlike the previous beer tastings we’ve been to, but an introduction to some new beers they have on tap. I’d already tried both of the Heretic brews at Ladyface with Janelle last month, but needed another look.
Any brewery that has their own coasters AND temporary tattoos has made it!
Of all the four beers, the last two stood out most to me. Heretic’s Evil Twin is HOPPY! The Bruery’s Humulus Lager is… different. Big hops on the nose and taste, but they fade immediately after the swallow. Here’s the confusing part: Evil Twin = 45IBU. Humulus = 70IBU. Whaaaa? There’s a HUGE difference in the bitterness of the Evil Twin vs. the Humulus. Evil Twin almost bowled me over, but Humulus seemed pretty tame. I had to come home and find out how IBUs are rated.
I came home, ready to research how IBUs are determined, but I opened my fridge to this:
That’s not including the Dogfish Head Sah’tea and Labyrinth Black Ale I picked up after the tasting tonight… Needless to say, I opened a Boont ESB and promptly forgot about IBUs. Until tomorrow…
Random catch-up time! I asked on Twitter yesterday if pairing a CoCoNut PorTeR from Maui Brewing Company with a super spicy butternut squash and leek soup was a bad decision. Two people responded to me, recommending that I stick with an ESB instead…
I received those recommendations halfway through the bowl of soup and glass of porter. Oops. I’m happy to report that the coconut porter does NOT overwhelm the soup! In fact, I couldn’t detect any of the “hand toasted coconut” in the porter. It smelled like a dense, rich coffee porter stuffed with chocolate malts. I enjoyed a can (or two) to soothe my blazing mouth while I watched Black Swan.
It was an intense night.
And now, I’m going to retire to the soft couch that beckons me from the living room, and rot my exhausted, beer fact-riddled brain and watch a stupid comedy. G’night!
Filed under beer, beer tasting
Tagged as ABV, beer flight night, Black Swan, Boont ESB, butternut squash, Certified Beer Server, Cicerone, CoCoNut PorTer, Dogfish Head, Evil Twin, Green Monsta, Green Monster, Heretic, Humulus Lager, IBU, Labyrinth Black Ale, Ladyface Ale, leek, Maui Brewing Company, Odell IPA, Radical Brewing, Sah'tea, SRM, The Bruery, The Complete Jo of Home Brewing, Vitamix, Wade's Wines
by Becki |
July 9, 2011 · 8:57 pm
I’m in Los Altos for the 32nd Annual Arts and Wine Festival this weekend, and got a chance to hang out with my friend Grayson at a brewery that he used to work at (as the brewer’s assistant).
We met in college. Grayson was a senior, living in a house of senior guys. I was a freshman, living in the dorms with my two best friends. Gray and “the Brew” as we so aptly named their house full of boys who brewed beer, basically took care of us the entire year, and we ended up becoming amazing friends to this day. Gray, have I told you how awesome you are?
We went to Faultline Brewing Company in Sunnyvale.
I ordered a style of beer that I’d never tried before – Best Bitter. I didn’t read the description before I ordered and had no idea it was nitro-pushed until it arrived.
Stupid evil bad camera blurriness.
That’s better! It was so pretty, watching all that gas as it seemed to cascade down the glass, dissolving into crystal clear beer. I have to say, I’ve never been a huge fan of nitro-pushed beers. I’ve found them to be bland and watery when they’re served on nitro, but this was amazing! Beautiful creamy head that lasted the entire glass, smooth body with a slight caramel note on the tongue, and a very mild kick of bittering hops. I have been converted!
Return of the evil, blurry camera. Apparently it didn’t appreciate my selection of food – I got fire roasted veggies tossed in a fresh basil pesto. They came with mashed potatoes, which I requested have tons of garlic and bacon in them. Needless to say, those potatoes were the first to go…
Gray ordered the tri-tip. My camera approved of his selection apparently…
I finished with Faultline’s IPA – very mild on the IBUs (50), but still delicious. I’ve yet to find a hoppy beer that’s too intense for me. Stone’s Ruination didn’t really blow my mind. I actually found Amazon Imperial Red to be more intense. Any suggestions?
Gray, being the genius brewer that he is (and also a Cicerone Certified Beer Server), has been helping me with my studying for the Cicerone Certified Beer Server test. I don’t want to half-ass this thing – If I get a question right because I guessed on a multiple choice, that’s not good enough. This is information I actually ENJOY learning about! Anyway, Gray was incredibly patient last night, teaching me about enzymatic mashes and how they’re needed for converting the long strands of starches into fermentable sugars. He also walked me through decoctions and kegging. Awesome.
Good food, great beer, one amazing friend.
Then I tried my first macaron and almost gagged on the sweetness! I finished it though. I’m not one to waste food.
Filed under brewery, Drinks
Tagged as Amazon Imperial Red, art festival, Best Bitter, Certified Beer Server, Cicerone, college, Faultline Brewing Company, fire roasted vegetables, Grayson, IPA, Los Altos, Macaron, NEED MORE HOPS, Stone Ruination, Sunnyvale, tri-tip, UCSB